The boards of Fresnillo and MAG Silver have approved the development of the $395m silver/gold Juanicipio project owned by their joint venture (JV) company Minera Juanicipio.

Fresnillo owns a 56% interest in the JV, while the remaining 44% is held by MAG Silver.

For the Juanicipio property, located in the Fresnillo District, Zacatecas State, Mexico, exploration and development works are being carried out by Fresnillo.

Construction on the Juanicipio project is set to start with immediate effect and completion is expected late next year, subject to finalising detailed engineering and securing remaining permits.

The project is anticipated to have a total average annual anticipated production of 11.7moz silver, 43.5koz gold. It has an initial life of mine of 12 years.

At the time of construction, the Juanicipio development is expected to create around 2,750 jobs and 1,720 jobs once at full production.

Fresnillo CEO Octavio Alvídrez said: “The decision to approve Juanicipio reflects the extensive work the JV partners have done to de-risk the project to meet stringent development criteria.

“This decision to invest demonstrates our confidence in the long-term outlook for mining in Mexico.”

“The joint approval of the project is a landmark milestone for the Juanicipio joint venture.”

Exploration and development at the Juanicipio site have been on-going for several years.

The companies have already placed orders for long lead-time equipment delivery and obtained all principal permits and licensing.

MAG Silver CEO George Paspalas said: “The joint approval of the project is a landmark milestone for the Juanicipio JV. We are fortunate to have Fresnillo with over 130 years of experience in the area, managing the construction and operations of Juanicipio.”